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Saturday, 21 May 2011

Ezra Pound: Seven Lakes


File:Rila 7 lakes circus panorama edit1.jpg

Panoramic View of the Seven Rila Lakes, Rila Mountains, Bulgaria: photo by Anthony Ganev, 1 July 2007; image by Diliff, 1 October 2008

For the seven lakes, and by no man these verses:
Rain; empty river; a voyage,
Fire from frozen cloud, heavy rain in the twilight
Under the cabin roof was one lantern.
The reeds are heavy; bent;
and the bamboos speak as if weeping.

Autumn moon; hills rise about lakes
against sunset
Evening is like a curtain of cloud,
a blurr above ripples; and through it
sharp long spikes of the cinnamon,
a cold tune amid reeds.
Behind hill the monk's bell
borne on the wind.
Sail passed here in April; may return in October
Boat fades in silver; slowly;
Sun blaze alone on the river.

Where wine flag catches the sunset
Sparse chimneys smoke in the cross light

Comes then snow scur on the river
And a world is covered with jade
Small boat floats like a lanthorn,
The flowing water clots as with cold. And at San Yin
they are a people of leisure.

Wild geese swoop to the sand-bar,
Clouds gather about the hole of the window
Broad water; geese line out with the autumn
Rooks clatter over the fishermen's lanthorns,

A light moves on the north sky line;
where the young boys prod stones for shrimp.
In seventeen hundred came Tsing to these hill lakes.
A light moves on the South sky line.

View towards four of the Seven Rila Lakes --
Dolnoto, Ribnoto, Trilistnika and Bliznaka: photo by Ivelin Minkov, 17 September 2006

Ezra Pound: from Canto XLIX, 1937


manik sharma said...

beautiful images...and an equally beautiful string of words....Doomsday couldn't touch these places...(as if it touched anything else)...we keep milk for the dogs outside the door...doomsday has been barking for a while....i don't think people who have visited such places(with the right intentions or maybe none in mind) really would care if the milk runs out of dogs or the dogs run out of milk...they have witnessed life throw something at them that makes them incapable of complaining if the shutters have to be pulled...i have felt it...



EP weaving his word visions -- wonderful to find this on the second morning of the not yet ended world. . . .


first grey light in sky above blackness
of ridge, silver of planet below branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

in the first place, referred
to as second physical

picture plane, optical field,
second surface itself

cloudless blue sky reflected in channel,
sunlit shoulder of ridge across from it

TC said...

Much as one hates to have to say it ... at 7:04 PM the house shook.

A 3.8 on the Hayward Fault, atop which we sit. Epicenter a few miles north.

A bit of an anticlimax.

Anonymous said...

As Manik and Stephen note, the word visions and "vision visions" here are really marvelous. Every time you post a Pound work, I undertake some research and great benefits follow, so thanks very much. Glad you all survived yesterday's heaven and earth events. Good luck to all of us on whatever today brings. This morning's NY Post contains updated repellent Dominique Strauss-Kahn details. What appalling fellow.

manik sharma said...

to throw a funny cape on the whole scenario(well it was funny to start with)....some of my frnds cracked a joke today...that if the countries with the timezones arriving earliest had been wiped out....then would heaven be operating on a first come first served basis ??i mean...we are 1.3 billion mayhem....heaven would profit nonetheless....

Anonymous said...

Seven is perfection according to the symbolism in the Bible. And no symbolism could apply better.

Almost as if the poet had been here... For at one block away, on the shores of Lake Lácar, there starts the Seven Lakes Road to Villa La Angostura, on the way to Bariloche. It is a little bit more than a hundred kilometers long and it joins seven lakes =)

TC said...

This is the first half of what is commonly called the Seven Lakes Canto.

It evokes a timeless world, out of the complex fray of history.

Lucy, the poet would indeed have been enticed by the Seven Lakes Road to Villa La Angostura. It sounds like a road to heaven, from here.

The canto "... derives a vision of tranquillity from a set of anonymous Chinese poems about lakes, calligraphed in a book the poet's father acquired in the early years of the American taste for Oriental artifacts..."

(Hugh Kenner)

Pound's father's name, by the by, was Homer.

EP first translated the eight Chinese poems in the manuscript book in 1928, with the aid of a Chinese visitor, Pao-sun Tseng, founder and president of the I Fang Woman's College.

Nine years later, living in Rapallo, he decided to use the translations in the Cantos, adapting them freely for that purpose, rearranging them and interpolating images from one into another.

"In the new frame of Canto XLIX, the poems become elegiac fragments which 'speak as if weeping' not so much from a lost world as of a lyric beauty lost to the poet and his poem by the exigencies of his own century. The canto's first line -- 'by no man these verses' -- emphasizes the voicelessness of the images, in which bamboos, cinnamon spikes, rooks and bells sound, but the human voice is silent."

(Christine Froula)